Budget gaming is something of a rarity nowadays, but it is still possible. As long as you have a good broadband package, a moderate PC specification and a good monitor, you really can play AAA games through cloud gaming services and even take advantage of up to 120FPS AND 4k if your device allows it. Better still, you can enjoy 1440p and 60FPS with even a modest gaming PC!
Welcome To The Gaming Apocalypse
It is the time of the Scalper and the Miner. Around the world, desperate pockets of resistance have failed in their attempts to secure dangerously powerful technology, and keep it from falling into the hands of anarchists and capitalist miners . Corporations frantically devise plans to return power to those who deserve it... the Gaming Apocalypse continues.
Sure, it sounds like the synopsis of a terrible TV-movie, but it feels like it is the reality we're living in right now.
As is always the case when we start talking about gaming PCs, we have to mention the doom and gloom that is the GPU market. Right now, only the deepest pockets and smartest shoppers are able to afford and buy a GPU that offers Ray Tracing and the ability to run the shiniest AAA games. Forums and online communities discuss ways to build gaming PCs that represent some sort of value, with APUs that can get them to the first rung of the ladder, in the hope that "next year things might be different".
To make matters worse, the global semi-conductor shortage has even had President Biden weighing in back in February, hoping to repair a failed supply chain that is still struggling in October 2021. Companies like Nvidia have looked at GPU refreshes like the RTX 2060 laptop GPU, slapping extra VRAM on and increasing some clock speeds to satiate the crowd. The main market that still continues to suffer is that of the desktop gaming PC. With the only real substitute being to purchase a pre-built system that includes an Nvidia RTX 30 series or opt for an RX 6000 build with the range of new cards from AMD that enable 1080p - 4K gaming: -
- AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT
- AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT
- AMD Radeon RX 6800
- AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT
- AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT
- AMD Radeon RX 6600
PC enthusiasts are still sickly from the prices of these RX 6000 cards that we had hoped could be produced in enough numbers to remain affordable for a while. The lower of the bunch, the RX 6600 & RX 6600 XT, had an MSRP of $329/£299 at launch but never saw that pricing on shelves. The RX 6900 XT is currently priced at upwards of £1,200 versus the £770 MSRP. Of course, we do know that these prices are never set in stone, and a guidance from manufacturers only. The MSRP is set by card manufacturers based on the incurred costs in manufacture, distribution and eventual sale of a GPU, and normal and fair retail mark-up is also included. Except in this current climate, it means nothing whatsoever to the consumer.
Cloud Gaming: Not The Hero We Deserve...
...but it is the hero we need. Enter Nvidia, cape flapping in the wind, surveying a decaying marketplace with owners of burnt-out iGPUs and APUs crying softly over their RGB-lit cases, and laptop gamers not having a clue where they stand.
Google Stadia and Microsoft both have solid footholds in the Cloud gaming arena, and do an awesome job of allowing the general public (Console Peasants, if you will) to experience gaming power of the PC Master Race on the large or small screen. Nvidia's announcement yesterday (October 28, 2021), however, may see them lay claim to the creating longest queue of power-hungry gamers we've seen in recent years.
GeForce NOW RTX 3080 Membership Pre-orders Open for All
Remember that old adage "Never Pre-order!", yeah... you can forget that for now. With the new RTX 3080 tier from Nvidia, gamers can experience Ray Tracing for the first time in the Cloud.
Tom's Hardware recently took a test drive of the RTX 3080 option, which is set to cost UK gamers £89.89 for a 6 months subscription. Their findings were based on a USA connection, but were encouraging.
"In terms of performance, Assassin's Creed Valhalla establishes a pattern we'll see repeated in the other games. Average performance at 1440p ultra was 66 fps, while running locally an RTX 3080 delivered performance of 91 fps — 38% faster. That's actually the worst result, relative to the RTX 3080, that we'll see in the games we tested. We suspect it might be a CPU bottleneck, as Valhalla can be pretty demanding in that area, but it may also be due to VRAM bandwidth or some other factors." said Jarred Walton, a senior editor at Tom's Hardware.
In comparison to the Free tier of GeForce Now, the difference was easily measured: "Wow. What a difference that made!" Jarred said, "The hardware was noticeably slower, framerates couldn't maintain a steady 60 fps, and even at 1080p, ultra quality in many games was no longer an option."
YouTube creator, Cloud Gaming Xtreme, also reviewed the RTX 3080 tier, and provided a 4K capture of the test:
The video shows 60FPS at 1440p, and their real-world tests were extremely good with Nvidia Shield Pro, Google Pixel Go 4K Chromebook, a Samsung Galaxy Fold3 and an iPhone 10X Max. More recently, Cloud Gaming Xtreme also tested the RTX 3080 tier against local RTX 3080 performance. This was surprising, to say the least. At 1440p, Ultra Settings and DLSS & Ray Tracing, Cyberpunk 2077 streamed at 33ms with zero packet loss at a steady 60 frames per second.
it would appear that this is 100% a viable option for gamers who want to experience Ray Tracing and all the goodies that AAA games include. While there are over 1000 games supported right now, Nvidia is looking at upgrading their hardware to take advantage of DirectX 12 games, too.
GeForce Now RTX 3080 PC Specifications
While the service and app is available for Mac, Android, Shield TV and Chromebook (and IOS with a Safari browser workaround), we're going to look at the PC specifications you need to take full advantage of the GeForce Now RTX 3080 tier.
Right at the top of any specifications for Cloud gaming you will see internet connection. Before you even think about building or upgrading a PC for high-end Cloud gaming, you need to find out how fast your broadband is, and if you can expect the same speeds as those who currently enjoy a lag-free experience.
Nvidia don't require anything crazy from your internet connection, and you'll need a hardwired (Ethernet) connection to your router, with a connection speed of 35mbps.
To measure your speed against Nvidia's requirements, you will need to download and install Nvidia GeForce Now on your PC or Mac, and perform the test using their built-in network tester.
Step 1: Open GeForce Now, and open the top left menu:
Step 2: Navigate to Settings.
Step 3: Under Server Location, click Test Connection.
Results: Depending on your results, you will have an advisory from Nvidia as to how you can improve your connection.
The ideal setup is: -
Do not use a Powerline Adaptor - instead, connect direct into your router or a network switch where possible
Switch off any other streaming in the house (good luck with that one)
Use a high quality Ethernet cable such as Cat 6. These cables are standardised by IEEE having a thicker gauge and tighter twist, which reduces interference over longer distances in the home. CAT6a can support data rates of 10 Gigabit over the full 328 feet distance these cables go up to.
- Cat5e – up to 1.000 Mbit/s, 100MHz
- Cat6 – up to 1.000 Mbit/s, 250MHz
- Cat6a – up to 10.000 Mbit/s, 500MHz
Do not use Wi-Fi
With the PC heavy lifting being taken care of back at Nvidia's storage farm, the main thing you'll need for high framerate gamign is your monitor. A 144Hz monitor will be needed here, at 1440p resolution. With FreeSync/Gsync you will ensure a stutter free experience, and should be looking for a screen that is around the £250 price range. This will allow you to purchase an IPS panel, and have all of the features above.
You can, of course, enjoy 1080p 60FPS (GeForce Now 'Competitive' settings) on a monitor like the LG 27GL650F-B UltraGear 27" Full HD IPS monitor, which is a great value monitor at under £180.
Cloud Gaming PC Specification - The Ultimate Cloud Gaming PC
As your PC is basically a conduit for the Cloud gaming service from Nvidia, you don't need a huge budget to enjoy Ray Tracing, DLSS or 60FPS at 1080p on the world's best selling AAA games like Cyberpunk 2077, Destiny 2, Assassin's Creed Valhalla or Control.
With monitor included, this Ultimate Cloud Gaming PC comes in at under £630, which is incredible considering you are getting 1440p gaming on an RTX 3080!
This build ensures you have plenty of RAM available for Cloud gaming, with double the recommended available memory. The Gigabyte B365M DS3H WIFI Micro ATX LGA1151 Micro ATX motherboard allows you to get fast connection speeds with the Realtek 8118 Gaming LAN built-in. If you want to customise your case with RGB, the motherboard also includes ARGB headers.
Included in this build is an MSI GeForce GT 1030 DDR4 2 GB Video Card, which more than meets GeForce Now's requirements.
Ultimate Cloud Gaming PC (DIY Build)
|Component ||Description ||Price |
|CPU ||Intel Core i5-9400F 2.9 GHz 6-Core Processor ||£142.38 |
|Motherboard ||Gigabyte B365M DS3H WIFI Micro ATX LGA1151 Motherboard ||£66.66 |
|Memory ||ADATA 8 GB (1 x 8 GB) DDR4-2666 CL19 Memory ||£26.65 |
|Storage ||Western Digital Caviar Blue 1 TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ||£32.33 |
|Video Card ||MSI GeForce GT 1030 DDR4 2 GB Video Card ||£72.99 |
|Case ||GameMax Centauri MicroATX Mid Tower Case ||£26.57 |
|Power Supply ||GameMax GP 400 W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ||£29.00 |
|Monitor ||ViewSonic VX2758-2KP-MHD 27.0" 2560x1440 144 Hz Monitor ||£229.99 |
|- ||Total: ||£626.57 |
If you prefer a prebuilt system, then the Horizon 5 Vega PC allows you to get the most out of a fast Ryzen 5 5600G APU that is faster than the GT 1030. At £534.99, you'll still need a monitor that can handle the 1440p 144Hz gaming, but you're getting a lot of value for money.
Horizon 5 Vega Cloud Gaming PC (Pre-built)
|Component ||Description ||Price |
|CPU ||AMD Ryzen 5 5600G 3.9GHz ||- |
|Motherboard ||Gigabyte B450M DS3H ||- |
|Memory ||16GB DDR4 3200MHz ||- |
|Storage ||500GB Kingston NV1 NVMe SSD ||- |
|Video Card ||Built-in Radeon ||- |
|Case ||CiT Beam ||- |
|Power Supply ||Aerocool Integrator 500W 80 PLUS Bronze ||- |
| ||Total: ||£534.99 |
GeForce Now RTX/DLSS Games (November 2021)
With your new Cloud gaming rig purchased, you can now sit back and check out the games you are going to be able to enjoy; the very best games at the best resolutions, including Ray Tracing and DLSS!
|Game ||Ray Tracing? ||DLSS? |
|Alan Wake Remastered || ||DLSS |
|AMID EVIL ||RT ||DLSS |
|Anatomy Of Fear || ||DLSS |
|Anthem || ||DLSS |
|Apocalypse: 2.0 Edition || ||DLSS |
|Aron's Adventure || ||DLSS |
|Back 4 Blood || ||DLSS |
|Baldur's Gate 3 || ||DLSS |
|Battlefield V ||RT ||DLSS |
|Beyond Enemy Lines 2 || ||DLSS |
|Bodies of Water VR (Beta) || ||DLSS |
|Bright Memory ||RT ||DLSS |
|Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War ||RT ||DLSS |
|Call of Duty: Modern Warfare ||RT ||DLSS |
|Call of Duty: Warzone || ||DLSS |
|Chernobylite || ||DLSS |
|Chivalry 2 || ||DLSS |
|ChronoTecture: The Eprologue || ||DLSS |
|Cions of Vega || ||DLSS |
|Control ||RT ||DLSS |
|CRSED F.O.A.D || ||DLSS |
|Crysis Remastered ||RT ||DLSS |
|Crysis 2 Remastered ||RT ||DLSS |
|Crysis 3 Remastered ||RT ||DLSS |
|Cyberpunk 2077 ||RT ||DLSS |
|Deathloop ||RT ||DLSS |
|Death Realm || ||DLSS |
|Death Stranding || ||DLSS |
|DeepStates (VR) || ||DLSS |
|Deliver Us The Moon ||RT ||DLSS |
|DiRT 5 ||RT || |
|DOOM Eternal ||RT ||DLSS |
|Edge of Eternity || ||DLSS |
|Enlisted || ||DLSS |
|Escape From Naraka ||RT ||DLSS |
|Everspace 2 ||RT ||DLSS |
|Exit From || ||DLSS |
|F1 2020 || ||DLSS |
|F1 2021 ||RT ||DLSS |
|F.I.S.T.: Forged In Shadow Torch ||RT ||DLSS |
|Fall Balance Ball || ||DLSS |
|Far Cry 6 ||RT || |
|Faraday Protocol || ||DLSS |
|Final Fantasy XV || ||DLSS |
|Fortnite ||RT ||DLSS |
|Frozenheim || ||DLSS |
|Ghostrunner ||RT ||DLSS |
|Godfall ||RT || |
|Helios ||RT ||DLSS |
|Höll Space 5D6 || ||DLSS |
|INDUSTRIA ||RT ||DLSS |
|Into the Radius VR || ||DLSS |
|Iron Conflict || ||DLSS |
|Justice ||RT ||DLSS |
|JX3 Online RTX version ||RT || |
|Last Hope on Earth || ||DLSS |
|LEGO Builder's Journey ||RT ||DLSS |
|Loverowind || ||DLSS |
|Marvel's Avengers || ||DLSS |
|Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy ||RT ||DLSS |
|Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries ||RT ||DLSS |
|Metro Exodus PC Enhanced Edition ||RT ||DLSS |
|Minecraft with RTX ||RT ||DLSS |
|Monster Hunter World || ||DLSS |
|Moonlight Blade ||RT ||DLSS |
|Mortal Online 2 || ||DLSS |
|Mortal Shell ||RT ||DLSS |
|Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord || ||DLSS |
|Myst ||RT ||DLSS |
|NARAKA: BLADEPOINT || ||DLSS |
|Necromunda: Hired Gun || ||DLSS |
|Nine To Five || ||DLSS |
|Nioh 2 The Complete Edition || ||DLSS |
|No Man's Sky || ||DLSS |
|Observer: System Redux ||RT ||DLSS |
|Outriders || ||DLSS |
|Poker Club ||RT || |
|Powerslide Legends || ||DLSS |
|Pumpkin Jack ||RT ||DLSS |
|Qu Gian Qi Tan Online || ||DLSS |
|Quake II RTX ||RT || |
|RAZE 2070 || ||DLSS |
|Ready or Not || ||DLSS |
|Recall || ||DLSS |
|Red Dead Online || ||DLSS |
|Red Dead Redemption 2 || ||DLSS |
|Redout: Space Assault || ||DLSS |
|REFICUL 666 || ||DLSS |
|Resident Evil Village ||RT || |
|Rise of the Tomb Raider || ||DLSS |
|Rune II ||RT || |
|Rust || ||DLSS |
|Scavengers || ||DLSS |
|Severed Steel ||RT ||DLSS |
|Shadow of the Tomb Raider ||RT ||DLSS |
|Soul Dossier || ||DLSS |
|Stay in the Light ||RT || |
|Supraland || ||DLSS |
|Swords of Legends Online || ||DLSS |
|Sword and Fairy 7 ||RT ||DLSS |
|System Shock Demo || ||DLSS |
|The Ascent ||RT ||DLSS |
|The Fabled Woods ||RT ||DLSS |
|The Medium ||RT ||DLSS |
|The Orville Interactive Fan Experience || ||DLSS |
|The Persistence ||RT ||DLSS |
|The Riftbreaker ||RT || |
|The Riftbreaker: Prologue ||RT || |
|To Hell With It ||RT ||DLSS |
|Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege || ||DLSS |
|Twin Stones: The Journey of Bukka || ||DLSS |
|Uncrashed : FPV Drone Simulator || ||DLSS |
|Unknown Woods || ||DLSS |
|Wakamarina Valley, New Zealand || ||DLSS |
|War Thunder || ||DLSS |
|Watch Dogs: Legion ||RT ||DLSS |
|Wolfenstein: Youngblood ||RT ||DLSS |
|World of Warcraft: Shadowlands ||RT || |
|Wrench ||RT ||DLSS |
|Xuan-Yuan Sword VII ||RT ||DLSS |
|Yag || ||DLSS |